Easter Study 2006

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Home Study Series

Resurrection hope of the Faith Community: a call to begin again...

May 23

Rasslin’ toward Resurrection

  1. Walk through each of the suggested characteristics of the resurrected relationship with God. What would it take to move your congregation fully into each of these? What would have to happen? Which things would have to change and how could you facilitate those changes?

  2. Have all but one person in the group close their eyes. The remaining person slowly reads the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel. Each person imagines he/she is Jacob through the telling of the story.

  3. How do you encounter the angel? What does it look like? Does it say anything to you? How do you first engage it and begin to wrestle? What are the issues you are wrestling over? What happens when you demand to be blessed? What part of you is “put out of joint” or injured in this struggle? What does the angel whisper in your ear? The angel gives you a new name. What is it? What does this mean for your life now? What will you have to give up to take on this new name? Will you choose to accept it or not? What are the consequences either way?

  4. Repeat this exercise with group members being the angel this time.

  5. How do you encounter this Jacob‑like person? What does the person look like? Does the person say anything to you? How do you first engage the person and begin to wrestle? What are the issues you are wrestling over? What happens when the person demands to be blessed? How do you decide what part of them needs to be “put out of joint”? What name do you whisper in their ear? What is your intent for the person's life? For their life in a congregation?

  6. Repeat this exercise with the Church as Jacob, and discuss. Which of the three suggested forms of wrestling do you see happening in your congregation? Describe the outcomes of each.
    Working within the system.
    Changing it all now.
    Doing nothing.

  7. Which one (or parts of each) appeal to you? Why?

No Religion Too

  1. What would it mean in your congregation to “test everything, hold fast to what is good”? How might you do this systematically?

  2. How could your study group infiltrate the congregation and take “resurrection stances” on every committee, in meetings, in classes?

  3. How will you discern what is “of God” and what is not without developing a creedal litmus test? What are characteristics of God in action? How do we know it is God who is leaking and not our own intentions? Does that matter? Why?

  4. Does our evolving relationship with God include what we have previously called “worship”? Or does our dialogical relationship call for collaboration? What checks and balances are built into this relationship? How do we keep it on track? Is there a track?

  5. Describe your current relationship with God and the need for re‑ligio or rebinding. Describe how that rebinding occurred through church, sacraments, prayer.

  6. Now imagine moving from that relationship to in‑spiro or breathing with God. What emotions/feelings does this evoke? What are the differences between the two relationships? Is re‑ligio safer than in‑spiro? Why or why not?

  7. Imagine the crucifixion scene, or have one member read it, where Jesus dies and the Holy Spirit explodes out of him and implodes into all creation, even into you, so that now you are, in fact, breathing with God, breathing the spirit of God in and out with each breath you take, united with all others in creation, here and elsewhere, who are doing the same thing at the same time. What does this mean for your daily life? For your life in the congregation?

  8. Assuming that our relationship with God and each other is continually evolving, what would you imagine the next step would be beyond in‑spiro? What would it take to get there?

  9. Having finished the book and the study questions, what will you do differently in your congregation? In your prayer life? In your personal life?

  10. Reread the book and the study questions one year from now and see what has changed for you, and for the DYING CHURCH and the LIVING GOD.